Last Updated on March 11, 2024 by Angela Vaz

You never thought you’d get over the betrayal.

It felt like someone ripped out your heart.

You managed to put it behind you.

And one day out of the blue you hear from them.

They want to be friends.

“Just friends.”

They start talking to you as if nothing happened between you both.

And deep down, you’re wondering if it’s a good idea.

In this post, I will talk about why your cheating ex would want to be friends and give you options regarding what to do about it.

But before that really quick, get my free guide on how to really reset your life.

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What does it mean when your Cheating Ex Wants to be Friends

1. They are insecure

Please know that the number one reason why most people cheat is that they are insecure and are constantly fighting feelings of insecurity.

They need a lot of validation to get through the day.

It’s never about the person they are with.

So, if you ever felt like your partner cheated because you were not good enough – stop.

Don’t even go down that road.

  • Shakira’s husband cheated on her.
  • Elizabeth Hurley’s husband cheated on her.
  • Emma Thompson’s first husband cheated on her.

It doesn’t matter what you look like, how brilliant you are, and how wonderfully you’ve treated your partner.

The cheating was never about you.

This is something you should know before you even consider being friends with your ex.

Please know that your ex wanting to be friends with you has nothing to do with you as a person.

They didn’t leave because there was something wrong with you or something you did wrong.

They cannot handle being alone.

They cannot handle being “without options.”

That’s pretty much it.

2. They don’t want you to hate them

they don't want you to hate them

If you’ve known your ex for a long time, chances are they constantly try to seek approval from others.

This is also a sign of insecurity and more often than not, they will always be thinking of how other people see them.

At this point, they are still thinking of themselves and how you perceive them.

More than being friends with you, all they want is your approval.

They probably want to end things on a good note even though they know they’ve screwed up at some point.

3. They miss the conversation

Perhaps after all the cheating, they realized that the new person did not possess the same qualities you did.

Maybe they miss the conversations, the laughs you shared, or all the good experiences they’re able to recount, now that you’re not in the picture.

And like most people that cheat, maybe they have realized that they let something good get away.

In this case, they might be wanting to rekindle that relationship so that they can keep you in their lives for longer.

4. They don’t want you to move on

they don't want to let you go or move on

Unfortunately, I’ve experienced this firsthand.

My first ex who cheated on me and ran away with another married woman still called and harassed me after I left.

He’d taunt me about how he knew where I was even though I had moved out with my dogs.

And I know people who just can’t stand seeing their partners be happy.

They don’t mind moving on but they don’t want their partners ever to find happiness or love with somebody else.

If you have an ex who always competed with you or who always controlled you, then there is a very good chance that they want to control you.

5. They want to resume a physical relationship with you

I know people who can’t go through a dry spell whatsoever.

They lose their minds if they’ve not had a chance to get physical with someone in a week.

And for this reason, they like having multiple options.

It may be an emotional or physical need but basically, they cannot spend any time alone or by themselves.

And this is one of the main reasons why he wants to be friends with you.

Please be careful if you are considering a relationship with such a person.

6. They don’t want to be seen as a villain

A lot of people who cheat do not take responsibility for cheating.

They prefer putting the blame on their partners or on the circumstances.

They’ll say things like:

  • “They never spent enough time with me.”
  • “They treated me horribly.”
  • “They never gave me love or kindness.”

No matter what the circumstance, they will find a way to push the blame onto their partners.

Such people will try to crawl back into your life in order to prove to people that they’re not the villain.

This also happens due to insecurity.

7. They want peace

They want peace

Deep down they may feel a lot of regrets and their conscience might be eating at them.

But instead of thinking about your needs and understanding that they’ve done you wrong and you need space and time, all they’re thinking about is themselves.

They want peace and they want to go to sleep at night with a clear conscience.

So, they’re making their way back to you to get those unresolved feelings out of the way.

Should I remain friends with my cheating ex?

1. Ask yourself if you are okay with being disrespected

Please know that your ex cheated because they didn’t value you as a human being.

They didn’t value your time, and they didn’t respect you as a person.

When your ex cheated on you, they were focused on their needs and their desires.

They didn’t break up with you or separate from you because they wanted to have the comfort of your relationship while also getting a little something on the side.

And by being friends with such a person, you are indirectly telling them that you are okay with what happened.

2. You need to consider unresolved issues

you have to consider unresolved issues

If you are currently going through a divorce or are fighting for custody of your children with your ex or maybe you have built a business with them, then this is a different situation.

At this point, you can continue to maintain a cordial relationship for the sake of what is at stake.

You can talk about everything pertaining to important matters but going overboard or hanging out with them is still a pretty bad idea.

3. You have to consider your feelings for them

As a general rule of thumb, it isn’t healthy to be friends with your ex.

Mostly because it is going to hamper your growth and your future relationships.

Both of you need space and time to heal – more so you.

If you continue to see your ex, you are never going to get over them.

More importantly, you are going to constantly be reminded of the cheating, lying, and hurt they have caused you – this is going to mess with you and you will be unable to heal.

4. Ask yourself if you can ever trust them again

It’s a different question when you’re asking about being friends with an ex where the relationship ended cordially.

But if a person you loved and trusted cheated on you, then it is very difficult to ever trust that person again.

The quality of that friendship is something you need to seriously think about.

There are so many good people in this world who will never betray you the way this person did.

So, don’t go back to someone who has given you nothing but pain.

5. Are you expecting them to change?

Please understand that you cannot change a person and most people are not capable of change.

It can be very heartbreaking to continuously be disappointed with your expectations of that person.

But this is the truth and you definitely need to consider it.

6. If they’re toxic, let them go

if they are toxic, let them go

If you’ve only known sadness or misery when you were with them and they did nothing for your growth, then being friends with them will continue on the same trajectory.

You can’t be friends with energy vampires.

It just doesn’t work.

It’s going to impact you mentally, emotionally, and physically.

In this case, I highly recommend just letting go.

7. Love has nothing to do with it

Please know that you can love someone and miss them and still know that you don’t want them to be a part of your life.

That’s just how it is.

Just because you love someone and miss them, doesn’t mean that they are right for you.

It doesn’t mean that you should continue to talk to them or look out for them.

At one point, you need to ask yourself if you love yourself enough to respect yourself and walk away.

You have to make that decision for yourself.

Can someone cheat on you and still care about you?


I don’t doubt that some people are capable of caring about their partners while simultaneously cheating on them.

But they do not respect their partners.

In their own way, they feel that they care for and love their partners.

But honestly, being loyal and faithful is the minimum requirement to be in a relationship.

There are many people who are polyamorous and this is entirely okay. As long as both partners in the relationship are okay with an open relationship and know what’s happening, it’s fine.

But cheating is never alright.

It basically means going behind a person’s back.

There is no trust, no honesty, and no communication – those are the fundamentals for any relationship to thrive.

When a person cheats, they want to get their needs met without caring about yours.

They know that you will not be okay with it, so they don’t tell you that they’re doing it.

At the end of the day, a person who cheats has problems with communication and has trouble being honest.

My honest opinion is to get your affairs in order and eventually cut off from such a person.

You will be so much happier than before.

And take it from someone who’s been cheated on, you will find peace.

Here are a couple more posts that will help you:

Angela is a 30 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.


  1. Another amazing article! Thank you so much! It’s like your articles are custom made just for me! You seem to have felt every single thing I’m feeling. As my cheating ex and I live in a very small, very isolated corner of the world, we cannot avoid eachother. And our lives are very interconnected in many ways. Believe me when I say there is no way to cut him out of my life altogether due to where we live. And it is in our best interest to remain as amicable as possible. But. This time I will not take him back (as I did before). This time I will recognize that he is not a good romantic partner for me and that a platonic relationship with him is the only safe option. More than that brings pain and disappointment. I truly value all of your words on this and will be wary. I’m done being a doormat. As much as I have loved him, I must love myself more. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart ❤

    • Oh yes, RDL. Being cheated on felt absolutely horrid. Nothing comes close to that horrid feeling that eats you up slowly on the inside.

      I understand that living in the same town may be hard but at this point, all that matters is the boundaries you draw. As long as you draw good boundaries, you will be safe. It doesn’t matter if you see him every day. Eventually, he will understand that he cannot mess with you because you are not going to give him the time of day.

      He may be an acquaintance, but I’d end it at that.

      He’s had his chance, and now you need to focus on yourself – your healing and your life.

      I wish you nothing but the best. One day you will find someone that you deserve – someone who will love you just as much as you love him.

      Lots of love,

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